Coffee,Work, and Money


Now THIS is a party I can get behind.   The Coffee party, an intelligent alternative to the incoherent yelling that has been the hallmark of the Tea Party movement.  I LOOOOOOVE the name too.  I would actually go to one of these Coffee parties tomorrow but the closest ones to me are in mid-town Manhattan and Clifton, New Jersey.  Not surprisingly, there are no coffee parties set up on conservative Staten Island.

Yet.

I may join this thing and start a branch myself.   Dammit that sounds like the right thing to do. We’ll see how that turns out.  It might not happen right away though, because things are about to get very busy for me. 

I got a job!  A temp job, that could become permanent.  I will not say the name of the place or discuss anything that goes on there, that would be improper.  But happily I begin work on Monday!  WOOOOHOOOOOOO!   That may well eat into my time and capacity to start a coffee party branch here on Staten Island. We’ll see. 

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Did you ever read a story that just hit you as just wrong?  Did you ever see a statement in the news so patently false that it got you angry?  I found one, read it here.  The story is about AIG, and it leads with the following statement:

American International Group Inc. was unprepared for the financial crisis that forced the insurer to accept a $182.3 billion bailout from the U.S. government, the company’s former general counsel said.

AIG didn’t have the “infrastructure to call upon to respond,” Anastasia Kelly said today at a corporate law conference at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington. Because the company was so diverse and global, “there was no one in charge,” she said. Mark Herr, a spokesman for New York- based AIG, declined to comment.

There was no one in charge. There was no one in charge?  There was no one in charge?  Could someone explain to me how anyone can say that there is a company this gigantic where there was no one in charge, and have anyone take it seriously? A company that big and that diverse needs someone to head things up.  AIG’s CEO until 2005, Hank Greenberg, got the boot from AIG’s board because then New York AG Eliot Spitzer filed a complaint against Greenberg and AIG.  The story says because of that event in 2005, Greenberg wasn’t able to transition properly to the next CEO, and this had a negative effect on their ability to handle the issues AIG had.

A viddy from last year about AIG, from the Rachel Maddow show.

Let me get this straight.  AIG didn’t have the infrastructure necessary to deal with the financial crisis because one man didn’t get to set things up for the next guy?  This, despite the fact that A) he had 35 years to set up that infrastructure and B) there was two years AFTER Greenberg left to set that infrastructure up? Really?  The company was diverse, it is true, very diverse.  But think about this, that diversity was one of the reasons they made all that money and became as strong as they did in the first place.  That is the infrastructure that was needed to weather the storm.  What made it impossible to deal with wasn’t an infrastructure issue, or the inability of the company to set up infrastructure, it was bad investments by people who thought they could make more money by using toxic assets to fund that entire  “infrastructure”

In other words, the problem was created by AIG. They had sufficient infrastructure, the problem was that the foundation of that infrastructure was faulty, built on bad assets, and that is Greenberg’s fault, it was his successors fault, and everyone who worked their who had a hand in decision making.  It was everyone who played the game with AIG’s fault.

The problem wasn’t that no one was in charge. It had nothing to do with infrastructure.  It had to do with mistakes made in investment and truly stupid and wrongheaded leadership, not a lack of leadership.   AIG Vice Chairman Anastasia Kelly needs to take a clear look at the real world, something she has clearly not done.  She is too close to the issue to make a sound judgment about the reasons for AIG’s collapse.

If those words tell me anything about AIG in future, it tells me they are not finished having a bad time, and won’t be until they can have leadership with vision enough to admit their flaws and try to find a realistic solution to them.

Oh yeah, one more thing. WE WANT OUR MONEY BACK.  Assholes.

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A second story worth reading here.  Chris Dodd, retiring senator from Connecticut, seems to not have his head up his ass on consumer protection, unlike the way his counterpart Max Baucus (that moron) did about the health care/insurance debate. 

Dodd may go back to his original proposal for an “independent watchdog agency” for consumer protection.  This is opposed by lobbyists and Republicans, so it must be moving in the right direction.

It seems to me that by turning their backs on this reform, the Republicans, and business leaders are saying to America “C’mon kids, we can’t have the Consumers protected, now can we? We can do without those pesky regulations that would knock 2 % off of our profit margins and keep us from driving you into the gutter keep you safe, now can’t we?”

All I have to say here is GO CHRIS GO.  We NEED consumer protection. Screw these freedom hating bastards.

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That’s it from here.  Later!

Today’s nuggets, via wikiquote:  To understand political power aright, and derive from it its original, we must consider what estate all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of Nature, without asking leave or depending upon the will of any other man   John Locke

The voodoo priest and all his powers were as nothing compared to espresso, cappuccino, and mocha, which are stronger than all the religions of the world combined, and perhaps stronger than the human soul itself.   Mark Helprin

Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.   George Bernard Shaw

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